Site Index
Meetings Page

2024 Meetings

BotSoc meetings are usually held at 7.30 pm on the third Monday of each month at Victoria University, Wellington, Lecturer Theatre M101, ground floor Murphy Building, west side of Kelburn Parade.   Enter building off Kelburn Parade about 20m below pedestrian overbridge.   Please note that the doors of the Murphy Building and lecture theatre M101 open for evening meetings at 7 p.m. to allow time for members to socialise before the meeting begins.

Non-members are welcome to come to our evening meetings.

Click here to find out how to get there by public transport

To Help raise funds for BotSoc’s Jubilee Award Fund members are encouraged to bring named seedlings/cuttings for sale at each evening meeting.

How to join a ZOOM meeting option

1. The secretary will e-mail out the invitation to members with a link to join the meeting closer to the event.   Click on the link e-mailed to you in your internet browser.   Please contact the WBS secretary at Secretary WBS<> if you wish to have the zoom link. (zoom link)
2. Follow the prompt to Download the ZOOM app. which should take you automatically to the meeting.
Please note:
•   When you join the meeting, your microphone will be automatically muted.   This is so no one accidentally interrupts the speaker.   If you’re not speaking, please keep your microphone muted, so accidental background noise and playback doesn’t disrupt the meeting.
•   You can turn the video on if you like or leave it off.

On the meeting night – Please ensure you have connected to the meeting well before 7.30pm, when the meeting proper begins.

2024 Programme

Monday 19 February 2024:   Evening meeting – What it takes to save NZ’s most threatened orchids from extinction

Speaker:   Carlos Lehnebach, Curator of Botany, Te Papa, Wellington; Jennifer Alderton-Moss, Plant Conservation Researcher, Wellington City Council; Karin van der Walt, Conservation and Science Advisor – Ōtari Native Botanic Garden.   We will talk about our research at Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush and Te Papa aimed at saving some of our most threatened orchids from extinction.   We will cover aspects related to their pollination, seed collection and germination, and the methods we use to isolate and identify their fungal partners, which are indispensable for seed germination.   We will focus mostly on threatened species found locally, but there will be some examples from orchids further afield (e.g. the Auckland region, Waikato & North-West Nelson).   Our talk will highlight challenges, successes and the lessons we have learnt while trying to save some of our less studied plant species.

Monday 18 March 2024:   Evening meeting – Disentangling the effects of deer and possums from those of natural disturbance in NZ’s forests
Access also available by zoom. See above for details.

Speaker:   Peter Bellingham, Senior Researcher, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Lincoln.   NZ’s natural forests have been shaped in their composition and structure by natural disturbances.   Some of these disturbances, such as past glaciation or the Taupō eruption, have been at vast scales, and others at much smaller scales.   The resilience of natural forests to such disturbances over millennia is often reflected in different ecological strategies among tree species as forests develop after disturbance.   Differences among tree species in growth rates, leaf chemistry and wood density reflect differences in response to changes in soil nutrient availability and light soon and long after disturbances.   The recent settlement of NZ by people has brought new disturbances (such as fire) and many introduced, non-native plants and animals.   Climate change is causing changes in the intensity and scale of some disturbances, such as cyclones and drought.   Introduced mammals e.g., deer and brushtail possums, consume some forest trees and shrubs preferentially, yet their control sometimes does not result in the changes expected.   In this talk, I will discuss the problem of disentangling the damaging effects of browsing by deer and possums from continuing natural change after disturbances and, in that context, where we can apply control of deer and possums to achieve maximum efficacy.

Monday 15 April 2024:   Evening meeting – Ecosourcing for resilience in a changing environment

Speaker:   Peter Heenan, Senior Researcher – Botanist, Systematics, Landcare Research.   Ecosourcing seed of ‘local genetic stock’ has become unnecessarily restrictive.   Very little is gained through restrictive ecosourcing of tree seed.   We recommend that phylogeographic patterns and biogeographic boundaries be used to set nine broad ecosourcing regions and, within these regions, phenotypic adaptation to particular environments be used as a guide to seed selection.   This more relaxed approach to ecosourcing will improve restoration outcomes through increasing species and genetic diversity, reducing the detrimental effects of inbreeding and promoting the genetic rescue of populations of threatened species.   Examples of adopting an eco-evolutionary approach to ecosourcing are provided for the early-successional coloniser Kunzea ericoides and late-successional conifer species.   The paper describing this research is ‘open access’ and the pdf is easily downloaded using the following link:   We recommend that you see this video before the talk “Ecosourcing for resilience in a changing climate” https:/

Monday 20 May 2024:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

NOTE this meeting is not available via zoom
Share a pre-meeting bring-your-own supper: a flask of hot drink, cup and a small plate of ‘nibbles’ to be followed by a few speakers — limit 10 minutes / person.   For a gold-coin koha, or even ‘folding money’, buy one or more of the books we put on display, and help build up the Jubilee Award Fund which supports research on NZ plants.   Room opens at 7 p.m.

•   your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips.   Slides on a USB stick – limit 20 / person;
•   favourite botanical readings, your paintings;
•   any spare botanical or other natural-history books you have and don’t want any more to have them auctioned.   Take them home if they don’t sell;
•   plant specimens to sell or to discuss;
•   botanical art—paintings, drawings, ceramics – to add to a memorable evening.

Monday 17 June 2024:   Evening meeting – Norfolk Island
Access also available by zoom.   See above for details

NOTE: This meeting is not at the usual meeting location due to exam bookings - rather we will meeting at SUMT228, the memorial theatre in the Student Union building.
Directions to room: Enter the Tim Beaglehole Courtyard from the eastern side of Kelburn Parade.   Cross and go through the two automatic doors into the Student Union building.   Descend two flights of stairs, immediately turn a hard right, and follow the signs for SUMT228 - Memorial Lecture Theatre.   Link to campus site map.

Speaker:   Lara Shepherd, Science Researcher, Te Papa and Leon Perrie, Botany Curator, Te Papa.   Norfolk Island is a remote, subtropical island between New Zealand and New Caledonia.   Many of Norfolk Island’s native plants have affinities with New Zealand but there are also a number of endemic species.   Much of the original vegetation of the island has been heavily modified since European settlement and invasive weeds are common.   Many of the native plant species are now threatened.   We will give an introduction to Norfolk Island and its plants.   We will also provide an overview of our fern research on the island and why Norfolk Island ferns are critical to understanding New Zealand fern names.

Monday 15 July 2024:   Evening meeting – Understanding what we see when we look at native bush
Access also available by zoom.   See above for details

Speaker:   Dr. Hera Cook, Senior Lecturer, University of Otago.   Many New Zealanders love the bush but, beyond finding it beautiful, we know little about the impact of human settlement on our forests and the swift changes taking place.   This talk examines how I came to understand what I was seeing and learnt about forest dynamics, the impact of pest animals and the current situation.   It suggests how we might encourage greater awareness among a wider audience and analyze the major obstacles standing in the way of doing so.

Monday 19 August 2024:   Evening meeting – AGM; Sex, Flowers and Species – Tony Druce Memorial Lecture
Access also available by zoom.   See above for details.

Speaker:   Phil Garnock-Jones, Emeritus Professor, Victoria University of Wellington.   The age-old question of how to define species seems no closer to becoming settled science.   But regardless of how we recognise species, we can be sure that sex and mating are at the heart of what a species is.   For flowering plants, that focuses our attention on flowers, as we have done since Linnaeus first made known the nature of plant sexuality and applied it to taxonomy.   Flowers are complex structures comprising multiple organs that (mostly) work together to bring about mating.   And although unisexual plant gametophytes (female embryo sacs and male pollen grains) produce the eggs and sperms, sporophyte plants and the flowers they bear can express their sexuality along an axis from strictly female, through more common hermaphrodites, to strictly male.   Unfortunately for taxonomists, flowers are short-lived and—worse—they lose their shape and colour when pressed.   I’ll use close-up photography to demonstrate the remarkable diversity of form and function in some New Zealand flowers and relate it to Tony Druce’s prime interest: species taxonomy.


Please Email comments regarding this web page to webmaster (at)